Thinking Anglicans

Episcopal arrangements for Winchester diocese

Press release from Diocese of Winchester

Archbishop confirms arrangements following Bishop of Winchester’s retirement

The Archbishop of Canterbury has written to the people of the Diocese of Winchester concerning arrangements for the episcopal vacancy in the Diocese. The full text of his letter can be found here. (also copied below)

In this letter he states that following the retirement of Bishop Tim Dakin as Bishop of Winchester on the 6th of February, he has asked Bishop Debbie Sellin to continue in her role as acting bishop during the vacancy. Bishop Debbie will work closely with Bishop David Williams, and with the senior staff team, to provide collegial oversight to the people of God in Winchester Diocese. Bishop Debbie’s role will involve leading the senior leadership team and ensuring good working relationships, working with +David in promoting clergy morale and wellbeing, ensuring that governance structures are fit for purpose and that the diocese is confident in financial sustainability, building on the Diocesan Vision for growth and preparing the way for a successful appointment of the new Bishop of Winchester.

Additionally, the letter states that Archbishop Justin has asked Bishop Richard Frith, who has been providing some support to diocesan leadership in recent months, to take up a more formalised role as the Archbishop’s Episcopal Commissary in the Diocese of Winchester. +Richard’s role will be to work closely with +Debbie as Acting Bishop, and with +David, to walk alongside the senior staff team and the church as a whole in helping the diocese to move forward from the sad events of the recent past, to enable a process of reconciliation and healing and to recover confidence and joy in the service of Christ. +Richard will provide on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as Metropolitan, oversight of the process of Winchester moving towards the nomination of its next bishop, the formal process for which is anticipated to begin towards the end of 2022.

Archbishop Justin will be coming to Winchester Cathedral for the 11am service on the 16th January, at the invitation of the Dean and Bishop Debbie, to commission the episcopal team.

Archbishop Justin says: “I am very grateful to +Debbie, +David and +Richard for the dedicated ministry they are already providing in the Diocese, and to the whole people of God for your faithfulness and heart for God’s mission“.

Bishop Debbie says: “After such a difficult 2021 for so many, we hope and pray that we may start to see signs of light in the fight against the pandemic. I pray that, as a diocese, we will continue to make progress on our journey of reconciliation together, and I am grateful for the arrangements the Archbishop has put in place. I am particularly thankful for the support and prayers of everyone across the Diocese. Your tireless work ministering to your parishes, your communities, and what you do to help one another, remains a great source of strength and inspiration to me.”

Bishop David says: “I believe that we can begin 2022 with optimism and confidence about our future together in the Diocese of Winchester, and thank the Archbishop for the trust and responsibility he has given us. Alongside Bishop Debbie and Bishop Richard, I am looking forward to supporting our vital ministry and mission across the region.”

Bishop Richard says: “I have greatly enjoyed working with +Debbie, +David and their colleagues in recent months, and I am delighted that my involvement will continue. I will do all I can to support +Debbie and +David as the Diocese moves towards the nomination of its next bishop.”

See also: Archbishop of Canterbury visits Winchester Cathedral

Arrangements for the vacancy in the Diocese of Winchester

LP Ref: EI/JH 10th January 2022

Sisters and brothers in Christ,

Arrangements for the vacancy in the Diocese of Winchester

Following the announcement that Bishop Tim Dakin will retire as Bishop of Winchester on the 6th of February, I have been consulting about arrangements for episcopal ministry in the Diocese pending the appointment of a new bishop for the Diocese.

I have asked Bishop Debbie Sellin to continue in her role as acting bishop during the vacancy. Bishop Debbie will work closely with Bishop David Williams, and with the senior staff team, to provide collegial oversight to the people of God in Winchester Diocese. Bishop Debbie’s role will involve leading the senior leadership team and ensuring good workingrelationships, working with Bishop David in promoting clergy morale and wellbeing, ensuring that governance structures are fit for purpose and that the diocese is confident in financial sustainability, building on the Diocesan Vision for growth, and preparing the way for a successful appointment of the new Bishop of Winchester.

Additionally, I have asked Bishop Richard Frith, who has been providing some support to diocesan leadership in recent months, to take up a more formalised role as the Archbishop’s Episcopal Commissary in the Diocese of Winchester. Bishop Richard’s role will be to work closely with Bishop Debbie as Acting Bishop, and with Bishop David, to walk alongside the senior staff team and the church as a whole in helping the diocese to move forward from the sad events of the recent past, to enable a process of reconciliation and healing and to recover confidence and joy in the service of Christ.

Bishop Richard will provide on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as Metropolitan, oversight of the process of Winchester moving towards the nomination of its next bishop, the formal process for which is anticipated to begin towards the end of 2022. I am very grateful to Bishop Debbie, Bishop David and Bishop Richard for the dedicated ministry they are already providing in the diocese, and to the whole people of God for your faithfulness and heart for God’s mission.

I am delighted to announce that following the invitation of the Dean and Bishop Debbie, I shall be coming to Winchester Cathedral for the 11am service on the 16th January to worship and pray with you and to commission the episcopal team.

As we begin this new year and look forward with hope to all that God can and will do in Winchester Diocese, please know that you will be very much in my prayers as you walk forward together.

In Christ,

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury

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Father David
Father David
4 months ago

It appears to be a growing trend to bring in Diocesan or former Diocesan Bishops to share episcopal oversight in troubled dioceses. Ely to look after Lincoln and the former Hereford to assist at Winchester. Previously the norm was for the senior suffragan to be Acting Diocesan. The process of selecting the next Bishop of Winchester won’t begin until the end of 2022 – that seems to be quite a long time to wait and means, considering all their recent local difficulties, quite a lengthy interregnum.

Barbara Andrew
Barbara Andrew
4 months ago

Hereford was sad to see Bishop Richard depart after a fairly short time. He managed to elevate clergy morale in that time, his sense of humour helped everyone along. He was a good listener too.

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Barbara Andrew
4 months ago

Would this be a good point to make in opposition to compulsory retirement for the clergy once they reach the age of 70? Of course, if they so desire, clergy never really retire and with PTO continue to be of useful service. After 43 years in full time ministry I decided to retire in 2020 but am now gainfully employed assisting most Sundays in some delightful Cotswold country parishes. One definite bonus being – having no PCC to Chair!

Susannah Clark
4 months ago

I concur with Barbara. I have found Bishop Richard decent, responsive and thoughtful.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
4 months ago

The link ‘Archbishop of Canterbury ‘visits Winchester Cathedral’ includes a fine photograph without identifying, for the benefit of outsiders, the four bishops standing alongside Archbishop Justin. On either side of him are +Debbie Sellin, Acting Bishop of Winchester, and +David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke. Bishop Richard Frith, formerly of Hereford, is on the extreme right. I don’t know who the ‘Assistant Bishop’ is at extreme left. Doubtless someone can supply that information. This seems a good interim arrangement, and I’m sure we all wish +Bishop Debbie well in continuing in this important role for the remainder of 2022, it seems… Read more »

Peter Owen
Admin
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
4 months ago

It looks like Geoffrey Annas, who was Bishop of Stafford from 2010-2019 and is now an Honorary Assistant Bishop in Winchester.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
4 months ago

Geoff Annas, formerly ministering in UPA “sarf” London then Southampton, then Bishop of Stafford in Lichfield diocese, now retired to Southampton. He was my area bishop when I was vicar of Burton. I hold him in high regard. He is a parish priest, Deo gratias.

Last edited 4 months ago by Stanley Monkhouse
Simon W
Simon W
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
4 months ago

Geoff was highly respected when Vicar of Thornhill in Southampton and area Dean for a while I recall. Presumably Jonathan Gledhill (former bishop of Southampton) knew, trusted and rated him and so appointed him to Stafford.
An excellent person to have back in Hampshire as an honorary assistant bishop.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Simon W
4 months ago

Sounds spot on.

Rev James Pitkin
Rev James Pitkin
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
4 months ago

The Archbishop said that the process of appointing a new Diocesan Bishop of Winchester would start at the end of 2022. In the Diocese, we do not expect a new Diocesan to be in place until the end of 2023.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Rev James Pitkin
4 months ago

Surely, assuming that Bishop Debbie remains in post for all of that time, almost three years, it will be some kind of record. Increasingly she seems, to an outsider, the likely candidate for the top job.

Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  Rev James Pitkin
4 months ago

One assumes the Archbishop of Canterbury is referring to the formal process of the Crown Nominations Commission. The diocese can draw up the diocesan profile during the first half of the year. If that is so, then a new bishop can be announced early next year assuming it is straightforward in finding a person to take on the challenge.  For instance, the Crown Nomination Commission held meetings in September 2021 and November 2021 for Salisbury and the appointment was announced in January. So far there are not any dates in the diary for the Crown Nominations Commission in the second half of this… Read more »

Rev James Pitkin
Rev James Pitkin
Reply to  Philip Johanson
3 months ago

Winchester will not be officially vacant until 6th Feb so, to a certain extent, we expect to be joining the end of the queue!

Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  Rev James Pitkin
3 months ago

The end of the queue follows on from Newcastle so no reason not to have a Crown Nominations Commission meeting in the autumn!

Rev James Pitkin
Rev James Pitkin
Reply to  Philip Johanson
3 months ago

And that matches the Archbishop’s words about the process starting by the end of 2022. But how long until a new Bishop is in place in Winchester? (Bp Debbie and Diocesan Synod estimate of end of 2023 still looks realistic)

Michael Smith
Michael Smith
Reply to  Philip Johanson
3 months ago

Lots of episcopal vacancies but this being the CofE we couldn’t possibly have more CNC meetings to cope with it, could we?! ‘Always done it that way……….’

Kate
Kate
4 months ago

If there are no major issues in the meantime, the CNC needs to give Bishop Debbie the post permanently, although CNCs for other dioceses may want to snap her up sooner than that.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Kate
4 months ago

An interesting idea, Kate. To be honest, I don’t know enough, but had a similar thought about that possibility when she was first appointed. She has a good mentor in Bishop Richard.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Kate
4 months ago

It is almost unheard of for a suffragan bishop to be nominated as the diocesan bishop of the same diocese. Almost, but not quite entirely.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
4 months ago

In Winchester in recent years we have had two first-appointment diocesan bishops who had never been suffragans: John Vernon Taylor in 1975 and the present bishop, Tim Dakin, in 2011. Admittedly they were the only such appointments in over 400 years! By further coincidence, both had previously served as General Secretary of the Church Missionary Society.

Stephen King
Stephen King
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
4 months ago

Christopher Chessun (Woolwich, then Southwark), and James Newcome (Penrith, then Carlisle) are examples.

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Stephen King
3 months ago

As is Richard Chartres ( Stepney – London)

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
4 months ago

Correct but this is very strange. In almost every other role, deputies are routinely promoted to the next level. I don’t know Debbie Sellin but if she is good enough to be Acting Bishop she ought to be good enough for the substantive role.

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
4 months ago

A rare exception to the usual rule – Penrith to Carlisle.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Father David
4 months ago

Writing as a native Cumbrian, I witnessed this twice in my lifetime: Bulley and Newcome.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
4 months ago

How often is a suffragan expected to be acting diocesan for a year or more?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Kate
4 months ago

The last interregnum at Winchester was about four months between retirement of the previous bishop in May 2011 and announcement of Tim Dakin’s appointment on 6th September that year (I remember the date as it coincided with my 70th birthday). Formal Confirmation followed in December 2011, Consecration in January 2012, Installation in April, and so, altogether, just under one year.

Bishop Debbie has been in office since May 2021, and so has already completed eight months. The announcement rather hints that this could continue for the rest of this year, which would add up to nineteen months.

RobT
RobT
Reply to  Kate
3 months ago

Colin Fletcher (previous Bishop of Dorchester) was acting Bishop of Oxford for nearly 2 years after the CNC failed to nominate the first time round, his previous stint as acting diocesan being only about 9 months.

Tony Harris
Tony Harris
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
4 months ago

True
Richard Chartres was Bishop of Stepney in the London Diocese and was appointed Bishop of London.

Clare Amos
Clare Amos
4 months ago

I am interested in the fact that the picture on the Winchester diocesan website of the bishops with the Archbishop of Canterbury refers to (as well as Bp Debbie and Bp David) two other ‘associate bishops’. I wasn’t aware that there was an order of clergy or sub-species of bishop in the Church of England called ‘associate bishop’. It feels a bit of a give-away that communications in Winchester Diocese may have been farmed out to some organisation (? Luther Pendragon) that doesn’t really know how the C of E operates or the language that it uses. I am glad… Read more »

Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
4 months ago

The Archbishop writes to the diocese that Bishop Richard’s role ‘will be to walk alongside the senior staff team and the church as a whole in helping the diocese to move forward from the sad events of the recent past, to enable a process of reconciliation and healing and to recover confidence and joy in the service of Christ.’ Reconciliation of course is one of the Archbishops priorities.   On Sunday 16th January, the Archbishop was President and preacher at the Sung Eucharist in Winchester Cathedral. He made no mention of the Bishop of Winchester. Whatever Tim Dakin has or has not done… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Philip Johanson
4 months ago

It seems as if much that has been said or written officially about the diocese of Winchester is evasive. To refer to the unprecedented revolt of a diocesan synod against a diocesan bishop and the breakdown of trust that appears to have taken place as “the sad events of the recent past” is an extraordinary understatement even by the standards of the C of E. I don’t envy those who have to shovel up all the stuff that’s hit the fan there in recent months.

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
Reply to  Philip Johanson
4 months ago

Sad too for any Bishop to move into retirement under a cloud without any farewell nor blessing on him as he moves into retirement, for that would be a good place to begin a process of reconciliation and forgiveness whatever has previously transpired. it is not though he has committed any great crimes in a Peter Ball like scenario, but rather perhaps exercised a style of leadership that has not gone down well in the diocese.
Jonathan

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal
4 months ago

Tim Dakin lays down his crozier at Evensong on Saturday 29th January at Winchester Cathedral, so there is a farewell. His final date is 6th February, which is his 64th birthday. I presume his leaving date is then due to pension arrangements. To state that he has “perhaps exercised a style of leadership that has not gone down well in the diocese” is a massive understatement and does not reflect how things have been for us in the Winchester Diocese for the past 10 years. When Angela Tilby referred to “the Diocese of North Korea”, she was only stating publicly… Read more »

Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
4 months ago

 
The Letter to the diocese from the Bishop of Southampton said, ‘As is customary, Bishop Tim will be laying down his pastoral staff to mark his retirement at Evensong on 6th February’ On the Cathedral website it lists Cathedral Evensong on 29th January with the Bishop of Winchester. On 6th February there is no mention of the Bishop of Winchester. I wonder on which date he intends to lay down his Pastoral Staff. It would appear the diocese cannot even get a date correct!

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Philip Johanson
4 months ago

It’s the 29th. Apparently he didn’t want to do it on his birthday.

Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
3 months ago

So are you saying the Bishop of Southampton did not agree the date of 6th February with the Bishop of Winchester before issuing a letter to the diocese?

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Philip Johanson
3 months ago

I think this what id generally described as ” a breakdown in communication.” As 6 February is his last day as Bishop of Winchester it was assumed that would be the day he lay down his pastoral staff – which, figuratively speaking, it is.

Christopher Pettet
Christopher Pettet
Reply to  Simon Bravery
3 months ago

Bishop Tim did indeed ‘lay down his staff’at the altar last night at Evensong, and it was an emotional occasion, with +Tim barely able to complete his prayer (the evocative Methodist Covenant prayer). The service can be found on the diocesan Facebook page). After the prayer there was applause and a member of the congregation who were in the choir and greater choir area, led three cheers, before the Bishop gave the final blessing. It was an occasion which few of us present will forget. Whatever one’s opinions it would be hard for hearts not to be moved by this… Read more »

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  Christopher Pettet
3 months ago

Strange how the service is now unavailable – it appears to have been taken off -or not even loaded onto the Cathedral YouTube page. Not a single mention on the Diocesan website. Is this a “breakdown in communication” as well, or just airbrushed from Winchester’s long history?!

Chris Pettet
Chris Pettet
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
3 months ago

The website certainly did have the Jan 29th service uploaded, that very evening I think, when I checked. So it is I think unfortunate that it has already been taken down and one can only surmise as to why this has happened. I hope that it will return, not least so that many more can hear the sermon by Elizabeth Stuart, from Winchester University and the sensitive prayers of Canon Roly Riem, but the whole service was very meaningful. If it does not return back on the website I will try and make some inquiries (I live just by the… Read more »

peter kettle
peter kettle
Reply to  Chris Pettet
3 months ago

If anyone is in contact with Liz Stuart, could she be asked to publish the sermon?

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Christopher Pettet
3 months ago

It will have been important for +Tim to end his time as Bishop of Winchester well, and I can well imagine the level of emotion for him and those who were sympathetic to him. But if things are to move on well for the whole diocese, what way is there to mark the transition to a new era for those who have been bruised by his tenure as bishop?

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
3 months ago

People with characteristics that Bishop Dakin is alleged to possess are often supremely good actors.

Last edited 3 months ago by Stanley Monkhouse
Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  Christopher Pettet
3 months ago

Watching Evensong from Winchester Cathedral last Saturday [29th January], I agree with Christopher Pettet [above], it was a very emotional occasion especially for Tim Dakin.  Whatever he has or has not done as Bishop of Winchester one could not help but feel sorry for him at that service. Those responsible for appointing Tim Dakin as Bishop of Winchester must share some of the blame/responsibility for what went wrong. Part of the problem is the process for appointing diocesan bishops in the Church of England and the secrecy surrounding it. Whilst the problems in Winchester might have been extreme, it is not… Read more »

Peter Owen
Admin
Reply to  Philip Johanson
3 months ago

The service is available on YouTube although you will not find it if you search for Winchester Cathedral. You can find it here.

peter kettle
peter kettle
Reply to  Peter Owen
3 months ago

Thanks; Liz Stuart’s sermon is indeed worth hearing.

Chris Pettet
Chris Pettet
Reply to  Peter Owen
3 months ago

Having spoken (rather belatedly I’m afraid) to Canon Riem this afternoon I understand that the complete 29th January service was taken down, but then replaced by the sermon only. Your link, Peter, doesn’t seem to work now, but hopefully the sermon can be found on the cathedral website. Today (6th February) is Bishop Tim’s 64th birthday, and he is now officially retired.

Father Ron Smith
4 months ago

What is the correct collective noun for 4 bishops in one diocese – when there is no elected diocesan in situ? Is it a ‘Plethora’ or perhaps a Bevy? One hopes that Winchester will soon be a happier diocese with an elected pastoral Bishop in charge.

Adrian
Adrian
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
4 months ago

A surfeit of bishops, or a surplus of bishops? Or for those who love to have bishops in numbers a glee of bishops.

Adrian
Adrian
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
4 months ago

Or, for those with a sense of humour a ‘surplice’ of bishops.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Adrian
4 months ago

Pedantry warning! I think the surplice is the one vestment which C of E bishops don’t wear! For them the choir dress equivalent is the rochet, quite a different animal. In the photograph the four bishops (and Cantuar beneath his chasuble) are all wearing an alb of modern plain style with stole of correct colour, and very dignified they all look. And how refreshing to see Cantuar’s plain mitre in place of the inappropriate and gaudy ones which seem to have come into fashion. But Winchester again trumps all these other comments. We have already had a ‘Surplice’ of Winchester!… Read more »

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
4 months ago

I suggest, in total seriousness, that ‘College of Bishops’ would be a suitable term.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
4 months ago

Each diocesan synod, like the General Synod, has a “House of Bishops”. This consists of the diocesan bishop, any suffragan bishops (which includes area bishops), together with “such other persons in episcopal orders who work in the diocese as the bishop of the diocese may nominate with the agreement of the archbishop of the province”.

https://www.churchofengland.org/about/leadership-and-governance/legal-services/church-representation-rules/part-4#r30

Evan McWilliams
Evan McWilliams
4 months ago

Is there a liturgy for ‘commissioning an episcopal team’ or will someone be tasked with making up a ponderous and overly-didactic rite for the occasion?

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
Reply to  Evan McWilliams
4 months ago

From my previous experience of 46 years as an Anglican I think Evan the Church of England is very good at inventing liturgies for every conceivable occasion! You name it they produce a Liturgy of some kind or another! Inventing liturgies seems part of the Anglican genius! Jonathan

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Evan McWilliams
4 months ago

Well, it has already happened!

Father David
Father David
4 months ago

A well crafted sermon from Justin Welby containing some sage advice for the diocese of Winchester but I wonder if he deliberately omitted to begin his address with the customary words “May I speak in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”? It has been suggested elsewhere on this thread that one of the Suffragan bishops would be a suitable candidate to be the next Bishop of Winchester. Capable as they may be I think that would be far from the best thing to do, surely an external rather than an internal appointment… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Father David
4 months ago

We are now being told (by the Revd James Pitkin above) that Bishop Debbie might still be in post at the end of next year, the equivalent of almost three years as Acting Bishop. Arguably that might equate or exceed some Diocesans’ experience. Wasn’t Justin Welby a diocesan at Durham, his first diocese, for only 12 months before being appointed to Canterbury? Three years Acting Bishop at Winchester would surely be more than equivalent to that.

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
4 months ago

The only reason that Bishop Debbie is acting Diocesan is because Bishop David is not. As Clare Amos noted above, his low profile is the price he has paid for challenging Tim Dakin’s behaviour. Presumably this was the reason why he was not asked to be acting Diocesan. It is usually inadvisable for a curate to become priest of their curacy parish because they can appear as a continuation of the previous incumbent and not offer the parish anything different. I have experienced this to the cost of the parish. It is similar with Bishops. I would consider it advisable… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
4 months ago

Presumably the reason why Bishop David was not asked to be Acting Bishop was that he had ‘stood back’. But historically Southampton was the far older (if not senior) See. Are you suggesting that length of service as a suffragan in Basingstoke would take precedence? In any event it is, surely, rather bold to suggest that this is the ‘only’ reason why Bishop Debbie is Acting Bishop.

Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
4 months ago

It is usually the normal practice for a suffragan bishop in a diocese to become the acting diocesan bishop during a vacancy.  Currently – Taunton in Bath & Wells [since September 2020], Tonbridge in Rochester [since July 2021], and Berwick in Newcastle [since November 2021].  If there is more than one suffragan in a diocese then normally it is the longest serving suffragan as with Sherborne in Salisbury [since July 2021].  The situation in the Diocese of Lincoln is different. The suffragan bishop of Grimsby was the acting diocesan bishop during the period when the diocesan bishop was suspended. However, on the… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Philip Johanson
4 months ago

“To all intents and purposes he has appointed his suffragan, the Bishop of Huntingdon as the acting bishop of Ely.” Not quite. The Bishop of Ely is spending half the week in Lincoln and half in Ely. And even when in one place he may participate in a meeting in the other; for example he was present at an online Ely meeting that I was at on Monday evening, when he was physically in Lincoln.

Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
4 months ago

Perhaps not quite but almost!
The Bishop of Ely wrote to his diocese of 12th November 2021: ‘Bishop Dagmar will be responsible for the running of the diocese day to day. I shall retain pastoral and strategic oversight.’

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Philip Johanson
4 months ago

A consolidated reply with thanks to those who have provided explanations. But a slightly intriguing aspect (for me, at least) is that there are two distinct scenarios: initially the Diocesan ‘stood back’, that was neither a resignation nor a retirement, so that period cannot, I would have thought, count as an interregnum. The interregnum arises, surely, on the Diocesan’s subsequent retirement? Isn’t that the situation, handled differently, at Lincoln? It’s probably academic as the present arrangement at Winchester has been formalised. If Bishop Richard Frith is living in York, Winchester is hardly on his doorstep, but I suppose, as at… Read more »

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
3 months ago

Tim Dakin’s ‘stepping back’ does not count towards interregnum. The process of replacement cannot begin (at all) until the Diocesan formally leaves. Winchester Diocese has been told that not much will happen until much later this year. As has been said above, it is usually the longest serving Suffragan who is acting Diocesan. It is not based on the somewhat nebulous existence of a more ‘senior’ Suffragan see. Bishop Debbie had only been a Suffragan for a relatively short period prior to this situation and therefore had limited experience as a Bishop. Bishop David has been Suffragan much longer and… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
3 months ago

Thank you. Your first sentence is precisely the point I was making. I take on board that in normal circumstances the more senior suffragan (in terms of service) would take the acting bishop role, but these circumstances have been far from normal. Bishop Debbie was thrown in at the deep end by events when newly in post, and how dismaying for her that must have been – what kind of setup had she joined? Do these thoughts occur to anyone? Rather we get dismissive references to her junior status and the rather discourteous statement that she ‘sat on the fence’.… Read more »

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
3 months ago

“Bishop Debbie was thrown in at the deep end by events when newly in post, and how dismaying for her that must have been – what kind of setup had she joined? Do these thoughts occur to anyone? ” Yes, they do. Everyone I have spoken to about this has deep sympathy and much empathy for Bishop Debbie. Everyone is looking to support her as best they can. I don’t believe it is discourteous to refer to her as a ‘junior’ bishop. She was consecrated less than 2 years before Tim Dakin ‘stepped back’. As for ‘restoring normality’ and looking… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
3 months ago

I equally struggle to define ‘normality’ in the present C of E but pastoral and holy are, in simplest terms, what I hope to see in a bishop.

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
3 months ago

As a Roman Catholic I have experienced a similar situation in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, when the late Cardinal Keith O Brien had to resign and the the scandal connected to that resignation. At that time in 2013 we had an Auxiliary Bishop, Bishop Stephen Robson who had only been Episcopally ordained in 2012, Pope Francis intervened immediately before the Cathedral Chapter following normal Canonical Procedures elected a Diocesan Administrator and appointed the late Archbishop Philip Tartaglia as the Archdiocesan Administrator and he in turn appointed Bishop Robson as his Episcopal Delegate for the day to day… Read more »

Peter Owen
Admin
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
3 months ago

The process of replacement can (and sometimes does) begin before the diocesan formally leaves. For example the present Bishop of Liverpool does not retire until next month. But official consultations were held before Christmas. The Vacancy in See Committee has elected its six reps on the CNC and written the Diocesan Statement of Need. The CNC dates have been announced (16 May and 21/22 June 2022).

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Peter Owen
3 months ago

++ Justin was announced as the next Archbishop of Canterbury in November 2012. The see fell vacant on 1 January 2013.

I think the letter de conge d’elire and the letter missive can only be issued after the see has fallen vacant. The CNC can however meet while the departing Bishop is still in office.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
4 months ago

At one time in the Diocese of Blackburn the two suffragans had been consecrated together in York Minster. They were George Holderness (Burnley) and Anthony Hoskyns-Abrahall (Lancaster). In terms of length of service therefore neither was ‘senior’, and they were both in office when the Bishop of Blackburn (Walter Baddeley) died in 1960. I think that at that time the procedure would have been for the senior suffragan to receive a ‘special commission’ from the Archbishop of York, to be held until a new Bishop of Blackburn (it was Charles Claxton) had been appointed. I do not know whether that… Read more »

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